I recently watched Metropolitan Opera's Live in HD production of La Traviata with my dad and we were both totally captivated, especially Dad, who's an opera buff and has already seen a number of live productions of La Traviata (most recently the State Opera of South Australia's production).
We set aside the run time of 195 minutes and settled into what is a production you would never witness in live opera. In addition to the actual opera, compère Renée Fleming (an acclaimed soprano), takes viewers behind the scenes, where Renée insightfully interviews various on stage talent and key creatives. Of note, there's a segment reflecting on previous noted sopranos who played Violetta, including Australia's own Dame Joan Sutherland.
This production is unique to all others as it starts off in retrospective with Violetta passing away and departing the world whilst surrounded by loved ones. In this scene, we are introduced to soprano Nadine Sierra as Violetta, tenor Stephen Costello as Alfredo and baritone Luca Salsi as Alfredo's father Giorgio.
The featured image of the camelia is significant in that La Traviata was inspired by the novel by Alexandre Dumas, titled La Dame aux Camélias (The Lady of the Camellias) which chronicles his brief love affair with French courtesan Marie Duplessis. Violetta is not unlike Marie.
In this production of La Traviata, we have the absolute pleasure of seeing soprano Nadine Sierra as Violetta - Nadine truly embodies Violetta, her voice transcends forms so seamlessly and we see what we envision to be the real Violetta. Dad confirmed Nadine is the best Violetta he's seen and heard yet. As Alfredo, tenor Stephen Costello is convincing as the love-struck and sincere bourgeois, generating a believable chemistry between Violetta and Alfredo. Baritone Luca Salsi is instantly dominating as Alfredo's father Giorgio - there are many layers to his performance.
There are many advantages of seeing this version of The Met's La Traviata - attending a performance at New York City's Metropolitan Opera is out of reach for many of us; this Live HD version brings viewers up close to the performance, enabling us to see the expressions and personality of each character, not to mention the intricacy of the costumes and sets. Having Renée take viewers behind the scenes is an opportunity like no other. The subtitles perfectly reflect the lyrics in a true story-telling style.
All in all, Dad and I highly recommend The Met's Live in HD production of La Traviata.